The Cell

Jimmy Carter, Abigail Chang, Francesco Marullo and Agata Siemionow at nonsite:

The room is perhaps the fundamental element of any architecture. As a primitive hut, a simple shelter, a cave or a retreat, the room commands a unique and unrepeatable definition of a place. Making room means to clear a space for oneself: to identify a limit between inside and outside (room, from the proto-Indoeuropean root reue-“to open, space”). Like organs in a body, specific arrangements of rooms correspond to species of buildings with distinctive characteristics. Despite its concatenations, a room always preserves the possibility of autonomy, as a stand-alone entity. In the Western classical tradition—from Vitruvius to Alberti and Palladio—rooms are usually categorized according to forms accurately proportioned to their fulfilled functions.

Within an imaginary catalog of rooms, the cell could be considered its contradictory expression.

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